News

Pages

Local
4:45 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

Bills Would Allow Out of State Wineries to Deliver to PA Homes

Two legislative proposals would expand the selection of wines that can be shipped directly to Pennsylvanians' doorsteps, and both are awaiting action by the state House. The measures are popular, even with some in-state wineries that already have the ability to ship direct.

Read more
Local
4:00 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

Township Supervisors Prepare For Pennsylvania’s New Drilling Law

Aside from the drillers them­selves, there's prob­a­bly no group of peo­ple more impacted by Pennsylvania's new natural gas drilling law, Act 13, than town­ship super­vi­sors. The new impact fee will inject hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars into their munic­i­pal bud­gets. Statewide zon­ing stan­dards will either increase or scale back town­ships' drilling reg­u­la­tions, depend­ing on how robust their exist­ing local ordi­nances are.

Read more
Economy
3:48 pm
Tue May 15, 2012

City Council Endorses Bill to End Allegheny County Property Tax

Pittsburgh City Council has endorsed a Pennsylvania Senate bill that would freeze Allegheny County's property reassessment and possibly end property taxation in the county and its municipalities.

Read more
Local
9:54 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

Bill Would Fund FDA's Foreign Inspections Through Domestic Fee

Legislation from Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA 18) would fund inspections of foreign pharmaceutical factories by imposing a fee on generic drug manufacturers in the United States.

H.R. 3988 would also provide funding to cut down on a backlog of generic drug applications in the federal Food and Drug Administration. Murphy said he wants to shorten the 30-month process of approving a generic drug.

Murphy said the legislation passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee last week, with the support of U.S. pharmaceutical companies.

Read more
Local
8:45 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

Report: 34 Pennsylvania Children Died of Abuse or Neglect in 2011

Thirty-four Pennsylvania children died of abuse or neglect in 2011, one more than in the previous year. Seven of the children died in southwestern Pennsylvania.

That data comes from the state Department of Public Welfare, which issued its 2011 Annual Child Abuse Report last week.

Read more
Local
8:23 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

Adjunct Duquesne Professors Looks Into Unionizing, University Declines Voluntary Recognition

An effort is underway at Duquesne University to unionize part-time adjunct professors in the McAnulty College. United Steelworkers is helping in the effort and will be the bargaining agent for the adjuncts. Joshua Zelesnick is one of those part-time professors. He said as it stands now, people like himself, who teach only one or two classes a semester, are not treated the same as even some longer-term adjuncts.

Read more
Local
7:19 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

State Police to Close Lancaster County Barracks

Plans to close a Pennsylvania State Police barracks and shift personnel from another facility could become a common theme if the agency's numbers keeping dropping.

The cameras rolled in Lancaster County as state lawmakers asked hard-hitting questions about a plan to close the Ephrata state police barracks, and shuffle the personnel of another station in Lancaster.

Read more
Local
3:20 pm
Mon May 14, 2012

Panel Talks Corrections Reform in Pennsylvania

A wide-ranging panel is urging the state to adopt prison reform measures that could could save money and reduce the inmate population. The coalition includes former Governor George Leader, Pennsylvania Corrections Secretary John Wetzel, former Philadelphia Mayor Wilson Goode, and leaders of groups across the political spectrum, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Pennsylvania Family Institute and the conservative Commonwealth Foundation.

Read more
Environment
7:00 am
Mon May 14, 2012

Quaker Environmental Group Targets PNC and Mountaintop Removal Mining

The Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT) has been walking from Philadelphia to PNC headquarters in Pittsburgh since April 30th to protest the bank's financing of mountaintop removal coal mining, a type of mining that violates the Clean Water Act and has led to increased rates of birth defects and cancers for thousands of families across Appalachia, according to Zachary Hershman, EQAT campaign director.

Read more
Local
7:00 am
Mon May 14, 2012

Pension Problems Could be Budget Growth Downfall

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett's budget discussions have lately included warnings about the state's rising pension costs, but union representatives say those bills have to be paid.

Mike Crossey is president of the state's largest teachers' union, the Pennsylvania State Education Association. He acknowledges that pension costs are going up, but he says the state's unfunded pension obligation can also be traced back to a deal made in 2001, when state and school district contributions were not boosted along with a hike in benefits.

Read more
Local
7:00 am
Mon May 14, 2012

Report Gives Pennsylvania a ‘D’ for Parental Leave Policies

Pennsylvania requires only the federal minimum of parental leave benefits for private sector employees, according to a report released this week.

The Commonwealth earned a 'D' grade in the "Expecting More" [PDF] report from the D.C.-based National Partnership for Women & Families. NPWF gave most states a 'D' grade or lower for their policies toward workers who've just welcomed new children to their homes.

Read more
Economy
7:00 am
Mon May 14, 2012

Are Pennsylvania Corporate Tax Rates Too High?

Many business leaders believe Pennsylvania's regulatory and tax policies make it a poor place to do business, according to a survey of 650 CEOs across America.

A recent ChiefExecutive.net survey shows Pennsylvania scored fairly well in the "Workforce Quality" and "Living Environment" categories, but lagged badly in the "Taxation and Regulations" section.

Read more
Economy
8:10 pm
Fri May 11, 2012

May 11 Proclaimed “Travel and Tourism Day” in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl joined Visit Pittsburgh in declaring May 11 Travel and Tourism Day, though Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald went a step further and declared the week of May 5-13 as Tourism Week, to coincide with National Tourism Week.

Read more
Local
6:45 pm
Fri May 11, 2012

B-PEP Decries Black-on-Black Shootings

The Black Political Empowerment Project (B-PEP) gathered together with other organizations and community leaders this week to decry the recent spate of shootings in the African American community in and around Pittsburgh.

"We as a people are killing ourselves," said B-PEP Chairman Tim Stevens. "We're killing ourselves, we're killing our families, we're killing our youth, we are indeed killing our future."

Read more
Transportation
6:30 pm
Fri May 11, 2012

Steps in Place to Avoid North Shore Connector Delays this Weekend

Port Authority CEO Steve Bland issued a personal apology to all riders who were affected by last weekend's North Shore Connector Delays.

"Without a doubt everyone at Port Authority, from our rail operators to our operations management, from myself and our board of directors, think that was inexcusable and cannot be allowed happen again," he said.

Read more
Local
1:00 pm
Fri May 11, 2012

Susquehanna River Basin Commission Hears Public Comment on Water Withdrawal Permits

The agency that vets applications from energy companies to pull water from the Susquehanna River Basin is hearing public comment on its next steps.

Environmental advocates and anti-drilling activists are asking the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) to reject the latest requests from natural gas drilling companies to siphon water for hydrofracking purposes, or at least delay approving those applications until the SRBC has revised its overall water usage guidelines.

Read more
Local
10:18 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

Bill Would Boost State Police Numbers

Funding woes and waves of retirements have thinned the ranks of the State Police, so lawmakers are hoping to spur new hires by setting up a sort of rent-a-trooper program with municipalities.

The state Senate proposal in question would let municipalities contract directly with the state police if they have no police force of their own. Backers say it would allow local governments to rest easy, knowing they're getting the protection they need.

Read more
Local
5:45 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

Armed Service Committee Helps 911th

The U.S. House Armed Services Committee has passed budget legislation that aims to prevent the Air Force from closing the 911th Airlift Wing. The wing, along with the 171st Air Refueling Wing, is located at Pittsburgh International airport.

Rep. Mark Critz (D PA-12) noted after the early morning vote that the budget bill, which hasn't become law yet, would increase funding and stop the Air Force from retiring or transferring aircraft such as the C-130 used by the 911th.

The measure adds $642 million to the Air Force operations and personnel budgets to support the aircraft.

Read more
Local
5:45 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

School Board Elections Could Become Nonpartisan

A state Senate committee is considering a new bill that would eliminate primary elections for school board races, and omit those candidates' party affiliations from general election ballots.

State Senator Andy Dinniman is the Democratic Chair of the Senate Education Committee and sponsor of the legislation. He said there are two reasons to remove partisan politics from school board elections.

Read more
Local
4:29 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

Regional Arborists Up a Tree This Weekend in Pittsburgh Competition

This weekend 25 arborists will take part in the Western Tree Climbing Championship, sponsored by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA).

"It's to bring professional arborists and tree care workers together for some healthy competition and to learn some new techniques along the way," said Matt Erb, Director or Urban Forestry at Tree Pittsburgh and Chairperson of the Penn-Del ISA Tree Climbing Competetion.

Read more
Local
2:40 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

Pennsylvania House Scans Budget

Now that the Pennsylvania Senate has passed its version of a 2012-2013 state budget, the state House is now considering the spending plan, and it looks like changes will be made.

Read more
Arts
2:34 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

James Gibson

Rabbi James Gibson puts in long hours in his book-lined study at Temple Sinai, poring over scripture and theological texts. But, as he tells Josh Raulerson, he's also an avid reader of spy novels and contemporary history.

Lately, Rabbi Gibson has been reading:

Benny Morris, 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War

Read more
Arts
2:30 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

Walls are Bad, Outside is Good

Friday marks the start of Sustainable Pittsburgh's 11th annual Great Outdoors Week, or as organizers like to call it, the "ten day weekend." The event running from May 11th to May 20th is a compilation of more than 60 outdoor recreational activities over a week and a half period.

Sustainable Pittsburgh Communications Manager Ginette Vinski said people of all ages and all skill levels can participate.

Read more
Transportation
9:15 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Turnpike Speed Limit Boost Bill Heads to House

Motorists may have the option of going a full five miles per hour faster on the Turnpike, if one state House proposal is approved. The plan would raise the roadways upper limit from 65 to 70 miles-per-hour.

The 70 miles per hour speed limit idea is a bit of a throwback. In fact, the Turnpike was something of a wild west in its early days.

Read more
Local
7:44 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Senate GOP's Budget Bill Sent to House

The Pennsylvania Senate has approved a $27.7 billion state budget plan that would avoid many of the cuts Governor Tom Corbett included in his 2012-13 budget. The plan penned by the Republican majority in the senate was approved Wednesday by a 39-8 vote. The vote came after nearly two hours of debate.

Read more

Pages